Two people arrested last summer by a Montezuma County Sheriff’s deputy have requested a $60,000 settlement in an attempt to avoid litigation.
The five-page settlement demand was sent by certified mail to the Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office and the Montezuma County Board of Commissioners on Feb. 10, confirmed Durango attorney Douglas Reynolds. In a telephone interview on Monday, Reynolds said the county was given a 15-day deadline to respond.
“I haven’t heard back from either the Sheriff’s Office or the county commissioners,” Reynolds said.
Attempts to reach Sheriff Dennis Spruell for comment or obtain an official sheriff’s department incident report of the alleged violations were unsuccessful as of press time.
In the settlement demand, Reynolds alleges that Montezuma County Sheriff Sgt. Adam Alcon made a traffic stop for failure to display a valid tag on June 10, 2013. The driver of the vehicle, Jami Larson, reportedly stopped in the Antique Corral parking lot on Highway 160.
According to Reynolds, once his client informed the deputy that a handgun was inside the vehicle, “the situation began to unravel.” He claimed an “unprovoked” Alcon held Larson on the ground while keeping the passenger, Jonathon Boyd, in the sights of the officer’s drawn firearm.
Reynolds claims Larson was repeatedly thrown to the ground, and suffered a broken finger along with cuts and abrasions.
Reynolds claims both clients were held for an “excessive period of time” before they were booked or allowed to make a phone call, despite efforts to notify officials that unattended minor children were home alone.
“At one point, Ms. Lawson even went so far to request that county social service personnel be sent to the home to do a welfare check,” Reynolds wrote.
Larson was reportedly charged with resisting arrest, obstructing governmental operations, operating an uninsured motor vehicle and failure to display valid registration. Boyd was reportedly charged with obstructing governmental operations and possession of a weapon by a previous offender.
District Attorney Will Furse said on Monday that all charges against Reynolds clients were dismissed.
Reynolds says his client’s civil rights were violated, including the use of excessive force, false arrest and custodial mistreatment.
“I suspect the settlement will ultimately be declined,” Reynolds said. “If it is, I think my clients have every intention of filing a lawsuit.”